Few countries can claim the exhilarating contrasts between summer, winter, spring and fall that Canada does. So it seemed natural to New Brunswick quilter and teacher Lois Wilby-Hooper to celebrate these dramatic differences by designing a Canadian Seasons quilt. Changing seasons have inspired artists, poets and songwriters, so why not quilters? “I'm greatly influenced by the landscape and seasons of this area,” Lois says. "They are reflected in most of my designs."
Canadian Seasons started out as a challenge when Lois's scrap bag threatened to take over her sewing room. "It's unthinkable for a quilter to throw out any bit of fabric," she says, "so I created a fun project to use my scraps, which were in a rich range of colours."
The finished twin-size quilt measures 225 x 150 cm (88-5/8 x 59-1/8 in).
- 7 m cream, for background and backing
- 1.40 m (total) print and solid greens, for summer trees
- .95 m (total) print and solid purples, blues and greys, for winter trees
- .85 m (total) print and solid yellows, oranges and reds, for autumn trees
- .80 m (total) solid greens, browns, blues and black, for trunks
- .45 m (total) print and solid mauves, pale greens, off-whites and pale pinks, for spring trees
- 8 m cream extra-wide double-fold bias tape, for binding
Twin-size polyester quilt batting
Cream quilting thread
Fine quilting needle
Mylar or light cardboard, for templates
Twin-size flat sheet, for layout only
Water-soluble fabric marker
Pencil and ruler
Note: Preshrink and press all fabrics. Sew with right sides together using 6 mm (1/4 in) seam allowance throughout. Press all seams to one side. Avoid stretching seams when stitching along bias.
A. To enlarge template patterns:
Enlarge by the squaring method, as follows: On brown paper, draw a grid of horizontal and vertical lines 2.5 cm (1 in) apart. Each square on the diagram equals a 2.5 cm square on your paper. Enlarge by drawing each line of the template design onto the corresponding square on your paper. Transfer labels and grain lines.
B. To prepare templates:
Trace template patterns A, B, C, E, F, G, H and J onto Mylar or transfer onto cardboard. Turn pieces C and H over and trace to make reverse templates CR and HR. Cut out and label all templates (6 mm seam allowance is already included).
C. To cut fabrics:
From cream broadcloth, cut 1 piece 240 x 112 cm (94-1/2 x 44 in) and 1 piece 240 x 50 cm (94-1/2 x 19-3/4 in), for backing. Trace around templates and cut 54 A pieces, 116 B pieces, 13 C pieces, 13 CR pieces, 8 E pieces, 30 F pieces, 116 G pieces, 13 H pieces and 13 HR pieces, for background.
From summer fabrics, cut approx 250 B pieces. From winter fabrics, cut approx 170 B pieces. From autumn fabrics, cut approx 150 B pieces. From spring fabrics, cut approx 70 B pieces. From trunk fabrics, cut approx 168 J pieces. Approximate quantities allow for choice when arranging.
D. To piece:
1. Referring to Diagram A (in pattern) and photo, arrange and pin to sheet horizontal rows of trees (composed of seasonally coloured triangles) plus background triangles alternating with rows of tree trunks plus background pieces. Begin with winter tree fabrics at bottom and gradually work through spring, summer, autumn and back to winter at top. Use the darkest-coloured tree trunks in the winter range. Blend colours by using fabrics from two seasons for some trees.
2. Beginning first row with an HR piece and ending with an H piece, sew side edges of tree trunks (J) and background pieces E, F and G together in one long strip.
3. Piece tree triangles (B) together in blocks of 4 triangles (full tree) and 3 triangles plus one background triangle (half tree) as illustrated in top right corner of Diagram A. Beginning next row with a CR piece and ending with a C piece, sew side edges of trees and background triangles (A) together in one long strip.
4. Piece all rows as in steps 2 and 3.
5. Stitch rows together along long edges, centring trunks under trees.
Page 2 of 3 – Find directions to finish your quilt, plus see additional photos of the Canada quilt on page 3.
E. To quilt:
Sew 2 backing pieces together along long edge to make rectangle 240 x 166 cm (94-1/2 x 65-1/2 in). Sandwich batting between backing and quilt top. Pin and baste layers together. Stretch on quilting frame. Quilt in the ditch along tree and trunk seamlines.
Trim away excess batting and backing fabric from all edges. Open out tape. With right sides together and raw edges even, sew binding around edges of quilt top, mitring corners as you go. Fold binding to back of quilt and slipstitch folded edge to stitching line. Press binding. Remove basting.
Do you love crafts? Sign up for CanadianLiving.com's craft newsletter!
Canadian Living reader Audrey Purdie of Saskatoon tried the Quilt Canada! project with great success. She sent us a letter and a photo of the finished product.
In January 1990 you published pictures and directions for making a quilt called "Tree Canada." It took me until last fall to tackle the project. My husband thinks it's the best quilt I've ever made.
I had it machine quilted by Verina Seidemann of Lloydminster, AB, and she asked for the pattern after seeing my quilt.
I hope you will publish other such projects. A photo of my quilt is enclosed.
Mrs. Audrey Purdie
Page 3 of 3